New Turbocharged V-12 Destined for “Baby” Rolls-Royce RR4

While the Rolls-Royce 200 EX concept served as a good preview of the forthcoming RR4 sedan, it didn’t reveal much in the way of powertrain. Officials would only say the car would be powered by a “new V-12,” and wouldn’t discuss specifications – until now. President and Editor-in-Chief Jean Jennings was able to get the scoop on the latest Rolls-Royce engine during a dealership event in New York.

Powering the RR4 will be an all-new turbocharged 6.6-liter V-12, reportedly producing “upwards of 500 horsepower.” This engine will be exclusive to Rolls-Royce’s portfolio (and likely the RR4 itself), and will be coupled with a new eight-speed automatic transmission from ZF.
Rolls-Royce claims the new drivetrain will significantly improve fuel economy over the 6.75-liter V-12 offered in the Phantom range. We’ll know for sure later this year when the production-spec RR4 is finally unveiled.

UPDATE: Jean Jennings just spoke with Paul Ferraiolo, President of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars North America, and found out a bit more about the new V-12 engine: Not only is the V-12 turbocharged, but it will have twin turbochargers and use direct-injection. The RR4 might be released late this year as an early release to some customers in the United Kingdom, but regular sales will begin in March or April of 2010.

When asked about the expected volume of RR4 sales, Ferraiolo had this to say: “We’re hoping that this car will double our sales.” Rolls-Royce sold 462 cars in North American last year and 1212 globally, which is a 20 percent increase over 2007 sales, and the fifth year of continued growth for the brand. Ferraiolo also discussed pricing saying: “We’re trying to get the RR4 below $300,000 with tax and options, but this is less about price. About 50 percent of our Phantom buyers so far have been new to the brand.We expect much more than that for the RR4, just based on sales volume. For that, we’ll have to pull customers from upper Mercedes-Benz models and Bentley.”

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